Hidden After-Hours Bar Libertine Opens Tomorrow in Downtown Miami

For 15 years, Space has ruled Miami's after-hours circuit. And while we're huge fans of dancing till the sun comes up on the terrace, there's one thing that the downtown megaclub is missing: moonshine. And maybe a ball pit. And free massages would be nice too. OK, so a few things.

Enter Libertine, a new drinking lounge meets speakeasy meets after-hours discotheque conveniently located between Space and Koi (although you'd never guess there was anything there).

See that inconspicuous blue door with an awning over it? That's the entrance to this place. Walking down the long hall lined in vintage chicken wire, glass, and raw steel columns is kind of like taking a trip down the rabbit hole. And once you've made it into Wonderland Libertine, you'll find plenty of craft cocktails and, depending on the night and time, anything from new-wave indie to nü-disco or even drum and bass emanating from the repurposed baby grand piano that's been converted into a DJ booth.

"We're going to be working with everyone," says music curator Michelle Leshem about the small-room venue with a big sound. "Not necessarily big DJs but still very melodic and textured fun type of sound from a really great variety of local talent. Think Ray Milian, Bluejay, Andrew Ward, and Terence Tabeau. We'll also have some surprise guests that will pop up at any time that we probably won't announce."

In other words, make sure you're a frequent visitor here or risk missing some really special sets.

But for now, Libertine is just looking forward to establishing itself as an essential stop on a night out in Miami. "I would like to say that everyone is behind it," Leshem says. "A place for everyone, by everyone."

Who exactly is that "everyone" responsible for Libertine? That question, like so many things about Libertine, is a bit mysterious. Leshem and others at Libertine are tight-lipped about the new bar's relationship with its next-door neighbor, Space, and just how closely the two are intertwined.

"Well, I definitely think you've got Space right beside it, so it’s natural to assume, but it's really a mystery." You cannot, however, access Libertine from inside Space. It has its own dedicated entrance and, for all intents and purposes, is a separate entity. 

Convoluted ownership aside, what Libertine is aiming to be is a fun neighborhood joint that takes things back to basics and doesn't fall into any one category.

"It’s a hybrid between a tavern, bar, and lounge, and you're really going to get all those feels in it." Indeed, the decor is all over the place — in a good way. You've got 150-year-old mirrors, an 18th-century fireplace, swanky chandeliers, and retro leather armchairs reminiscent of turn-of-the-century London. And then there are poker tables, a wall of books framed by green velvet curtains, and thousands of real pennies lining the floor.

A bar's decor is only as good as its drinks, however, and Libertine promises to pay tribute to Prohibition-era cocktails by mixing up libations like the Libertine (Bulleit Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Elderflower Liqueur, dash bitters, and cognac) or Libertine Moonshine (Moonshine with Del Monte sliced peaches and sugar). Of course, it'll have a version of the quintessential old-fashioned, but there will also be a selection of beers, shots, and straightforward drinks priced at $12. 

Libertine will be open Thursday through Sunday from 10 p.m. till "whenever." Bluejay will be performing live at Libertine tomorrow, June 25. On Friday Ray Milian will be providing the soundtrack, and this Saturday Andrew Ward takes over the decks. 

"We opened in the 24-hour district for a reason," Leshem says. Stop by tomorrow to see for yourself.